Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are cracking down on one of the most despicable crimes. After arresting more than a dozen alleged pedophiles in Fresno alone, thoughts of children who could not be saved sooner prohibits any celebration.
"Operation Sunflower" was launched on November 1st; the one year anniversary from when a Kentucky girl escaped from her captor. About 250 suspected child pornographers have been arrested across the nation, and police say they're confident there will be more.
14 of the people arrested reside in Fresno. Three Valley children were found still suffering from ongoing sexual abuse.
Nationwide, 44 children found similar liberation. It's enough to remind investigators that their work is important, but the children who could not be saved sooner still haunt them.
At a news conference at the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Fresno, smiles were hard to come by. Mostly, law enforcement officials shared stories of horror, and pleaded with the public to call police if they suspect a child is being abused.
Among the three valley children rescued was a 7-year-old girl who is developmentally disabled. Her condition makes it so she can't speak.
Police say she was living in the same home as her abuser, and was most likely sexually abused over a long period of time. The suspect is a registered sex offender.
A Homeland Security agent nearly choked up as he imagined what it would be like to suffer for so long and not be able to speak. For now, prosecutors will have a lot to say, as more than a dozen important cases are now counting on their diligence.